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08 March 2015 @ 08:56 pm
The Road Less Traveled: ch 6  
Title: The Road Less Traveled
Fandoms: SS501, Super Junior, U-KISS
Pairings: TBA
Rating: PG-13, some chapters R
Chapters: 6/?
Warnings: Violence, angst
Summary: In a world destroyed by plague and war, it’s every man for themselves. To survive, a small caravan of misfits navigate through the remains of a civilization on death's door; where trust must be earned and closely-kept secrets could get them all killed.


YoungSaeng called a stop a few hours before dawn, the group at the base of a large mountain. Finding a small clearing, YoungSaeng was on his feet and hopping off the caravan before it had even stopped. "JungMin, HyungJoon, do a quick circuit to make sure we're alone. We'll stop here and get some sleep."

"Sure thing boss," JungMin nodded, glancing at HyungJoon as he wheeled his horse around. "I'll take first watch."

"I'll do second then," HyungJoon replied, following after JungMin.

YoungSaeng looked towards KiBum and Kevin, lips quirking when he saw Kevin was sound asleep. "Need some help with him there, KiBum?"

"Nah, I think I got it," KiBum said, nudging Kevin a little. "Hey, we're stopping, you need to wake up so I can get down."

"Hm?" Kevin stirred, cracking his eyes open after a moment and blinking at KiBum's back. "Oh…okay," he nodded, unwinding his arms from KiBum's waist. He climbed down from off the horse, stumbling a little.

YoungSaeng was surveying the caravan with a frown. "Sorry Wook, you're sleeping out on the ground until we can get this all patched up."

"It's okay, I think for the time being I'd be happier sleeping on the ground anyway," RyeoWook said.

"If you need a bedroll to sleep in, you can share mine Wook," JungMin said, using a hand shovel to dig out a pit for the fire.

"... I think I can manage," RyeoWook replied, ducking his head and stalking off.

"What, YoungSaeng said no so you're trying for Wook now?" KyuHyun leaned out of the caravan. Despite his usual snark, the archer wasn't steady on his feet.

"Don't start KyuHyun," YoungSaeng sighed. "Don't need a second knock to the head in the same night."

"Hey, I'm an equal opportunity snuggler," JungMin said. "Are you jealous KyuHyun?"

"Why would I be jealous," KyuHyun sniffed, carefully making his way down from the caravan and dragging out his own bedroll.

"Because no one's asking you to share a bedroll," JungMin said with a smirk.

"I think I'd rather sleep with a porcupine," KyuHyun wrinkled his nose at the older man, depositing his bedroll beside the caravan and undoing it.

"Your loss," JungMin chuckled, piling in some wood into the hole and getting a fire started. "There you go Wook, fire's going. Saeng, I'm going to meet up with HyungJoon to finish the sweep, you all get some food and some rest, we won't be staying here long."

"Yeah," Kevin nodded, already settling down to sleep near KiBum.

YoungSaeng watched JungMin go, sighing quietly as he turned to undo his own bedroll. "You okay over there, Wook?"

"I'm fine, I'll get us some food cooked up that we can eat first thing," RyeoWook said, hiding a yawn behind his hand. "Get some rest boss."

"You look ready to drop asleep Wook, don't spend too long on it," YoungSaeng set up his roll and slipped inside.

"I'll keep an eye on him," KyuHyun said from where he was sitting in his roll to the side of the caravan.

"How's your head KyuHyun?" RyeoWook asked, getting out a pan.

"Feeling a little less dented," KyuHyun smirked, resting his elbows on his knees. "Can't that wait until you wake up?"

"It's best to get it done now so we're not waiting around when everyone wakes up," RyeoWook said. "At least I can sleep in the caravan if I need to once we're moving again."

"Yeah, on the scorched floorboards," the other man frowned. He glanced towards the others, seeing they weren't being paid any attention now. "I'll lend you my bedroll then so you're at least somewhat comfortable."

RyeoWook glanced over at him, smiling a little. "Really? That's... nice of you. I'd kind of appreciate it. I'm glad you're okay, I was really worried when I heard you'd been hurt."

"I've had worse," KyuHyun smirked. "I'm just pissed he got by me." Yawning into his hand, he laid down. "Seriously though, get some sleep. We can stand some dry food every now and then."

"But you'd just complain about it," RyeoWook said. "Get some sleep, and when you wake up you'll have a good meal to eat."

"I don't complain about everything," KyuHyun grumbled, settling down inside his bedroll. He meant to stay up a little to keep RyeoWook company until the two on perimeter returned, but ended up dozing off quickly. Soon the only sounds left in the clearing were the quiet snuffling of horses, the cracking of the flames, and the occasional snore.





It was only a few hours later when JungMin woke everyone up. As expected, there was a lot of grumbling and complaining, but most were pacified by RyeoWook's cooked meal. Those that could got some sleep in the caravan.

"JungMin didn't sleep at all did he," KyuJong said, glancing at YoungSaeng beside him. "You think he's gonna be okay to go all day until we stop for the night?"

"No," YoungSaeng replied drily, eyes going to the mentioned man. The caravan owner stayed on his bench beside KyuJong despite not being able to drive. "He's too stubborn to sleep now, but first sign of nodding off and he's going in the caravan." He heard an amused snort from KyuHyun behind him.

"Maybe when we stop for lunch we should stop for the day," KyuJong suggested. "I think we could all use time to relax, and we've been riding pretty hard since last night."

"I like that idea Saeng," RyeoWook spoke up, nudging KyuHyun with his foot. "We're far enough away, I doubt JaeJoong's anywhere near this area. Isn't that stream off this road somewhere?"

Blinking, YoungSaeng's lips quirked slightly. "I believe so. KyuHyun, the map."

KyuHyun passed over the rolled-up map. Unrolling it, YoungSaeng's eyes scanned the aged paper before he nodded. "We'll reach it just after noon. If I remember right, there's a nice sheltered spot to stop by the banks." He rolled up the map again. "Aren't you supposed to be sleeping, RyeoWook?"

"Trying to, but KyuHyun keeps kicking me," RyeoWook said, sitting up. "This isn't as comfortable when the caravan's moving either. Too bumpy."

"KyuHyun, if you can't stop kicking him you can go ride with JungMin," YoungSaeng looked back at them. "Try your best Wook, you didn't get much sleep. If not, at least we'll be breaking in some hours."

"I can sleep then," RyeoWook shrugged, moving to sit down next to KyuHyun.

"Someone should let JungMin know we're taking a detour," KyuJong said.

"Ah, the joys of being the one in charge," YoungSaeng sighed before raising his voice enough to be heard by the horses in front. "Min, fall back a moment."

The loud noise seemed to startle JungMin, jumping a little in his saddle before turning his horse to wait. When the caravan caught up he fell in line. "Something up?"

"Change of plans," YoungSaeng said, looking at him. "Remember that nice stream a couple hours west? We're stopping there for the day."

"Stopping for the day? Is that a good idea?" JungMin frowned. "I wanted to be at the next town before nightfall. I don't think it's safe to be out this far."

"We made good time last night, better than expected," YoungSaeng replied. "And some of us aren't going to make it all the way to the next town." He gave JungMin a stern look.

"Alright, fine," JungMin grumbled, steering his horse away and riding out in front again.

"He doesn't sound happy about this," KyuJong said, shaking his head a little. "He really takes this whole security thing very seriously."

"That's Min for you. He also doesn't like being told when he's not fit to do his job," YoungSaeng glanced at KyuJong beside him. "But I haven't been able to find a more hard-working man yet."

"It's good you have him then," KyuJong nodded. "I've talked to a lot of merchants who hire on muscle like him and they end up robbing them blind or running at the first hint of trouble."

"Min's never ran at anything," YoungSaeng chuckled. "He's a good guy. Which is why I have to at least make sure he takes as good care of himself as he does everything else."

"I have to hand it to you Saeng, you've got a lot on your plate with all these people here," KyuJong said. "Don't you feel like up and leaving them behind some days?"

"Maybe right after KyuHyun and JungMin have a knock-down fight," YoungSaeng snorted, smiling affectionately at JungMin's back. "But I'd never leave any of them behind."

KyuJong was quiet for a long while after that, his hands tightening on the reins a little. When he finally spoke again, he didn't look at YoungSaeng, keeping his eyes on the road. "After what happened with JaeJoong... are you going to be more cautious with picking people up?"

"For the safety of my crew, I'm cautious," YoungSaeng replied, glancing at KyuJong. "But I was raised to believe in the better side of people."

"Odd way to be raised in this day," KyuJong said. "It's not a bad thing though. I wish there were more people like you out there."

"There might be one day." YoungSaeng's gaze searched KyuJong's face. "Once people realize there's nothing wrong with trusting one another. Do you trust us?"

"Would you think less of me if I said no?" KyuJong said, glancing at him with an unreadable expression. "I haven't trusted anyone in a very long time, I don't know how to anymore."

YoungSaeng's lips curled into a smile, the intention behind it hard to read. "I wouldn't say so, but that's just me. I do trust you though," he chuckled, facing front again. "If I hadn't, I wouldn't have let you come back."

"Well... I count myself lucky then," KyuJong said, lips quirking a little.

Chuckling, YoungSaeng's eyes scanned the group. Kevin was still riding with KiBum up ahead. "Lucky or not, I think you owe someone an apology."

KyuJong followed YoungSaeng's gaze and he sighed a little. "Yeah... I'm sure I'm not his favorite person right about now. You were right, I should have said something to him."

"He was very upset when you left," YoungSaeng replied. "Not that he was the only one, but the rest of us at least had a better understanding. He's still very much a compound kid."

"What do you mean, who else was bothered by me leaving?" KyuJong blinked at that.

"Me for one," RyeoWook piped up, having been listening in. "Saeng too, even if he's not going to admit it."

"You traveled with us for two weeks, of course some people would have been upset by you disappearing," YoungSaeng said, pointedly ignoring RyeoWook. "Though considering the others are JungMin, KyuHyun and HyungJoon, it would be like pulling teeth for them to say so."

"We're not the only ones," KyuHyun snorted.

"Probably would have been better if I hadn't come back," KyuJong said. "I mean... it wouldn't have been so bad in a couple weeks, you probably wouldn't even remember my name."

"Or... you could have just not left in the first place," RyeoWook said. "I'm surprised you didn't try harder to get him to stay Saeng."

"I can't influence someone set on going their own way," YoungSaeng replied. "Everyone here is here because they want to be." He looked at KyuJong. "You might have forgotten us in a couple weeks, but we wouldn't have."

"I didn't say I would have forgotten you," KyuJong said, his eyes finally meeting YoungSaeng's.

YoungSaeng's lips curled. "Then don't assume I would." The sound of retching in the back of the caravan made him turn around. "KyuHyun, I swear I'm going to tie you to the horse's tail. RyeoWook, what are you doing?"

KyuJong turned as well, blinking a little at RyeoWook who was grinning madly, his hands trying to cover his mouth as he made a giddy laughing noise. "You two, are so cute!" he said, wiggling a little in his seat.

"So nauseating you mean," KyuHyun wrinkled his nose at them.

"Are you both done?" YoungSaeng folded his arms across his chest. There was a tinge of red to his cheeks.

"I don't know, ask him," KyuHyun pointed at RyeoWook.

"What are you talking about?" KyuJong asked, clearly confused.

"He's so oblivious," RyeoWook shook his head sadly. "You two have done nothing but moon over each other since you met."

"We're being friendly," YoungSaeng rolled his eyes, turning back to face front. "Ignore them, RyeoWook's running on no sleep and KyuHyun's just being a brat."

"Saeng's just in denial because he hasn't got--" Whatever RyeoWook was going to say was cut off when JungMin came back towards the caravan.

"Yah, you ladies about done back here? We're almost there," JungMin said.

"Kyu and I are done, it's those two who keep causing trouble," YoungSaeng beamed at JungMin. "When we get there, you're getting some sleep. I don't want to hear any arguments."

JungMin made a face at YoungSaeng, but clearly knew it was better not to argue. "Fine, but if I wake up and the caravan is on fire again, I'm not helping put it out."

"On no sleep, you wouldn't do too good at putting it out anyways," YoungSaeng quipped back at him. "Go back in front, I don't think those two have any idea where they're supposed to be going," he pointed at KiBum and Kevin up ahead.

"Yes boss," JungMin said, nudging his horse forward.

JungMin was right, after another bend in the road they took a small path down towards a wide river. By the time the caravan had made it down the steep hill, JungMin was already clearing away brush with HyungJoon's help.

"Can we go swimming?" KiBum asked, perking up at the sight of the clear water.

"If the water's as clear as it was last time, I don't see why not," YoungSaeng smiled, showing KyuJong where to stop the caravan. Hopping down, he moved to take care of the horses. "KyuHyun, use one of the smaller tarps to get some shade in the caravan."

"You're going to sleep now, right?" KyuHyun raised an eyebrow at RyeoWook, getting up to do as told.

"Soon as I get lunch made," RyeoWook nodded, getting slowly up to his feet as well.

"We can take care of lunch," KyuHyun rolled his eyes, hunting for one of the tarps. "Get some sleep Wook, you look like you need it."

"I'm fine, and I can't sleep until you're done putting that tarp up anyway," RyeoWook said, pulling out his food prep materials. "Besides, you all suck at cooking."

"Oh fine, you're too stubborn," KyuHyun grumbled, wrestling with the tarp. "But after you're getting some rest. If YoungSaeng can convince the horse to go to sleep, you can too."

"KyuHyun if you call me a horse one more time I'm drowning you!" JungMin called over to them.

RyeoWook chuckled a little, shaking his head. "I will, don't be such a worrier KyuHyun. That's Saeng's job."

"I'm allowed to make sure you're taking care of yourself, I know how you are remember," KyuHyun rolled his eyes. "And you'd have to catch me first!" He yelled back to JungMin.

"You might want to move," YoungSaeng told KyuJong with a sigh, unhitching the horses from the caravan. "If he goes for KyuHyun you'll get mowed over. KiBum, take care of yours and JungMin's horse before you go swimming."

"Yes boss," KiBum sighed, shoulders slumping a little. He looked forlornly at the water before tugging on his horse's lead line. "Come on Kevin, come help me."

"Why is JungMin a horse?" KyuJong asked YoungSaeng, keeping his voice low as he helped YoungSaeng.

YoungSaeng's lips quivered in amusement. "Because his long face reminds some people of a horse," he murmured. "That and his reaction makes it all the better."

"I don't look like a horse!" JungMin called over to them, surprising KyuJong.

"How did you hear that?" KyuJong asked, blinking a little.

"I don't have to hear anything to know what you people are talking about," JungMin huffed.

"You're tired, go to sleep," YoungSaeng smirked, turning to look at JungMin. "Look, KyuHyun's just about done securing the tarp."

Kevin watched them with amusement from where he was helping KiBum with the horses. Seeing movement off in his side vision, he jumped. It was just HyungJoon though; the older brother had stopped beside KiBum and murmured something in his ear.

"But... I have to..." KiBum said, looking at HyungJoon with a frown. "Okay, fine," he muttered, brushing past HyungJoon. "I'll be right back Kevin."

"Okay…" Kevin blinked, watching them go. HyungJoon caught up with KiBum, drawing his brother off to one side well out of earshot. Kevin watched him talk in a low voice that couldn't be heard from where he was before turning to finish taking care of the horses. He wondered what the problem was, and what had made the two brothers this way.

Kevin wasn't the only one watching, JungMin keeping an eye on them until KiBum seemed to get frustrated and tried to walk away. HyungJoon wouldn't let him by, grabbing his arm and speaking to him with a little more intensity.

"I said okay!" KiBum finally snapped, pulling his arm away. He said something to HyungJoon a little quieter before walking back to where Kevin was.

"Joon, set up a perimeter," JungMin said. Having finished clearing away the vegetation from around the campsite he was untying his bedroll from his horse's saddle.

HyungJoon watched KiBum go before turning away. "Got it." He climbed back onto his horse, heading off.

"Hey," Kevin blinked at KiBum. "What did he want?" he asked quietly.

"Nothing," KiBum said, unbuckling the saddle from his horse and pulling it off. "He uh... he doesn't want me swimming I guess. I'm not a good swimmer he says and doesn't want me drowning."

"Oh…" Kevin frowned. He could see the overprotective brother being worried about that. "Hey…I'm a good swimmer, maybe he'll let me teach you then?" he asked, remembering how excited KiBum had looked a few minutes ago at the prospect of swimming.

"Doubt it," KiBum sighed. "He doesn't let me do anything I want to do."

"That's just not fair," Kevin looked at KiBum sadly. "I'll stay out with you then, if you won't swim."

"No, you don't have to do that," KiBum shook his head. "I'd hate it if both of us didn't get to swim."

Kevin frowned. "…Do you think he'll at least let you walk in the shallows?" he asked quietly, hand on KiBum's arm. "I'll be right there, I won't let anything happen to you."

"... Yeah, I think we can do that," KiBum nodded, lips quirking a little. "Thanks."

"Hey, no reason you can't have at least some fun," Kevin grinned, tugging on the reins a little. "Let's get these guys all taken care of so we can go in the water!"

"Yeah," KiBum nodded, focusing on combing the horse while he grazed on a nearby bush.

Together they finished up with the horses quickly, leaving them tied to a nearby tree. Looking back at the caravan, Kevin saw the tarp was up. "Let's go," he grinned at KiBum, heading towards the riverbank.

They weren't the only ones. By that time, the camp had been set up and RyeoWook was busy making them all lunch. Without much else to do, KyuJong had convinced YoungSaeng to take it easy for a little while and go swimming as well. Not that KyuJong was a good swimmer, and refused to go further than his waist.

"I'll drown," KyuJong said, shirt off and in his undergarments. No sense in getting all his clothes wet if he didn't have to.

"There's practically no undertow, and the current's gentle," YoungSaeng said in amusement, undressed except for undergarments as well. Unlike KyuJong, he had no qualms about venturing farther into the water. "Come on."

"But I can't swim," KyuJong said, though he did slide a step further in. He couldn't help it, and he wasn't even aware he was doing it right away. With YoungSaeng so close and not wearing a shirt, his eyes had a hard time keeping on YoungSaeng's face. They kept traveling down to his chest and abs, trying to ignore the black spider-like mark over his heart. They all had one like that; a painful and visible reminder that the plague could take them any second.

Most people ignored it if they could. Tried not to think about what those black spots turned into once the virus turned hostile. It was just easier that way.

"And you really think I'm going to let you drown?" YoungSaeng smirked, taking a step back to match KyuJong's step forward. "Give me more credit than that." He held out his good hand to KyuJong.

"I don't know, maybe you want to get back at me for leaving," KyuJong said, though he did take YoungSaeng's hand.

"Oh I'm more creative than that," YoungSaeng grinned deviously, tugging KyuJong closer. He was up to his elbows in water. "I'll wait until you're not expecting it."

"That's not very reassuring," KyuJong whined, stumbling a little. "Just please don't try to kill me."

"You're safe from me," YoungSaeng smiled widely at the younger man before splashing him directly in the face, letting go of KyuJong's hand to dive underwater.

KyuJong got a mouthful of water from that, coughing and clearing at his eyes he stumbled backwards enough that he went down. It was all he could do not to panic as he went fully under the water and tried to get his feet back under him. When he finally did get his head out of water again, he coughed and hacked up all the water that he'd almost swallowed. "That wasn't nice!"

"Oh you're fine." YoungSaeng's voice came from directly behind KyuJong, one hand lightly against the other man's back underwater. There was amusement in his voice. "I can still stand, and you're taller than I am."

"But I went under," KyuJong said, looking over his shoulder. His eyes narrowed slightly and he turned. Before YoungSaeng could do anything, he hooked his arm around the man's neck and pulled him under water.

YoungSaeng's yelp was cut off by the water, hands grabbing at KyuJong to take him down with him. It took a moment for him to right himself underwater, pushing back up to the surface and circling his arms around KyuJong's waist to drag him up too. "Feeling a little feisty, Kyu yah?"

Laughing, KyuJong wiped at his face to clear the water from his eyes. "I just think fair's fair," he said, blinking a few times once he could see, noticing how close they were.

"Fair is fair," YoungSaeng grinned, shaking his head a little to try (and fail) to get his long hair out of his eyes. "But do that again and I'm taking you swimming farther out."

"Let's not do anything I'll regret," KyuJong chuckled. "I think I've had my fill of swimming though, I drank half the river already."

"Nah, only about a quarter of it. Weren't you the one saying to take a break?" YoungSaeng slipped around to behind KyuJong, arms staying securely around his waist. "Tilt your head back, and float. I won't push you under again, promise."

KyuJong eyed YoungSaeng warily, not entirely believing him. "Okay... but if you do anything I really will leave again and not come back." He did as told, tilting his head back and letting himself relax in the water.

"I thought you were planning on going again anyways?" YoungSaeng mused lowly. True to his word he didn't try anything, keeping KyuJong's upper body above the water.

"Well... yeah, but not right away," KyuJong said, closing his eyes. "Unless I get a good reason to stay.. I just want to make sure you stay safe... all of you."

"And what would be a good reason to stay?" YoungSaeng murmured in KyuJong's ear, gradually drawing them back towards the shore.

"I don't know... feeling like I belong I guess," KyuJong said. "Haven't felt like that.. ever."

YoungSaeng's lips curled softly. "We can tell you over and over again that you're welcome here with us…but it's all just words in the end. I hope you feel like you belong, one day. Everyone deserves a place like that."

"Guess we'll see," KyuJong said, opening his eyes and looking up at YoungSaeng. "But... I think I'd like that."

"Hey, lovebirds!" RyeoWook called from the shore. "Food's ready, come eat before KyuHyun eats it all!"

YoungSaeng smiled down at KyuJong, long hair shielding him from the sun above. "Let's go." His arms fell away from KyuJong's waist to hook in the crook of his arms instead, towing him back towards the shore with a laugh.

He did hope KyuJong decided to stay with them, for a longer amount of time. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he liked having the younger man around a bit more than he let on.
 
 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Super Junior D&E – Growing Pains
 
 
 
renichifreak: kyusaeng-adorablerenichifreak on March 9th, 2015 02:09 am (UTC)
I APPROVE OF THE KYUSAENG AND YES THIS TAKES PRIORITY IN THIS COMMENT /FLAILS HAPPILY

Okay...Jungmin is adorable and I love how protective he is of everyone...

kyuwook slay me

I REALLY want to know what's up with Joonie though...I think there's a much more deep-seeded reason behind his actions and he'd better explain himself before Kibum has enough and just leaves...

I need more T^T

edit: I can't spell and thought kyusaeng icon worked better than Dongwoo here lol

Edited at 2015-03-09 02:10 am (UTC)
TahJae0025tahjae0025 on March 10th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
Kyuwook was the highlight especially because I squealed along with wook over the kyusaeng moment ahahahah

joon...joon....joon....sigh

I missed you!!!
I will flail accordingly....;dh;dsfha;fhweihofn;mdf, ;nowFEwdl/CWE;DM
o[qwk;dmnwejno'wirlkdfm,c mwndfscjnkmasld,xdkncoiepl;dm

My keyboard misses these massages heheeh

Saeng....so wow....just wow.....

and yes! thank you for answering a question I dared not ask before! the virus is latent in everybody until something triggers it....

waiting anxiously for the next episode of Saeng basically slapping kyu over the head with his flirting